kin of mumbai attack victims welcome

Relatives of victims of the 2008 Mumbai attack victims on Wednesday welcomed the execution of the lone surviving attacker, Ajmal Kasab, saying justice has been finally delivered. In Varanasi, Sunita Yadav, wife of victim Upendra Yadav, expressed her gratitude to the authorities for carrying out the execution.

Daily Bollywood News:Bipasha Basu - Bollywood will remain a hero-centric business

Women are active in show business like never before, but will they surpass the status Bollywood heroes enjoy? Never, says Bipasha Basu, who feels there is minimum opportunity for female actors in the Hindi film industry

WWE Raw Videos

WWE Raw News, wwe raw videos

Cricket News

Latest Cricket News, Live Cricket Scores, Cricket Videos, Cricket Photos..

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Science and Station Orientation for Crew

Expedition 22 Crew Members

Image above: (From left to right) Flight Engineer Soichi Noguchi, Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer T.J. Creamer participate in an in-flight media interview aboard the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

Orientation activities and science investigations continued Wednesday for the Expedition 22 crew aboard the International Space Station.

The newest crew members, Flight Engineers Soichi Noguchi, T.J. Creamer and Oleg Kotov, who arrived at the station Dec. 22, continued orientation procedures scheduled for their first two weeks aboard the orbiting complex.

Creamer also worked with the DEvice for the study of Critical LIquids and Crystallization (DECLIC) experiment that studies the material growth and the behavior of liquids. DECLIC may lead to spin-offs in the field of clean technologies for producing energy and treating household and nuclear waste.

Noguchi also worked with the Bodies in the Space Environment (BISE) Experiment, which is evaluating how astronauts’ perception of their bodies’ orientation are affected by long-duration spaceflight. Findings from BISE are expected to help create a safer work environment in space and could eventually help develop treatments of aids for people on Earth who experience balancing problems or are prone to falling, including seniors and people with conditions such as Parkinson’s disease.

Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Max Suraev practiced for a full-crew emergency exit drill planned for Thursday, and discussed the upcoming drill with specialists on the ground. Such periodic drills prepare the crew for an escape in the docked Soyuz vehicles in the unlikely event of an emergency serious enough to require evacuation.

Noguchi, Williams and Creamer also participated in an in-flight media interview with Wisconsin Public Radio and the Washington Post.

Williams, a retired U.S. Army colonel, and Creamer, an Army colonel, saluted U.S. forces in Iraq with a special call to Baghdad Tuesday. Service members had the chance to talk with the astronauts about life on the station, their military careers and what it is like to live in space for up to six months.

› View video of Williams and Creamer saluting the troops

› Read more about Expedition 22

› View crew timelines

› Read more about the station's butterfly experiment

2010 International Space Station Calendar

NASA is offering a 2010 calendar that describes the work being done on the International Space Station and gives information about the crews that have lived there. The calendar contains photographs taken from the space station and highlights historic NASA milestones and fun facts about the international construction project of unprecedented complexity that began in 1998.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Off-Duty Day for New Expanded Crew

ISS022-E-014044 -- Expedition 22 crew

Image above: Wearing festive holiday hats, the Expedition 22 crew speaks with officials from Russia, Japan and the United States. In the front row are Flight Engineer Maxim Suraev (left) and Commander Jeff Williams. Behind them, left to right, are newly-arrived Flight Engineers Oleg Kotov, T.J. Creamer and Soichi Noguchi. Credit: NASA

Following the arrival of the three new Expedition 22 crew members Tuesday, the crew aboard the International Space Station had an off-duty day Wednesday.

The crew members spent most of the day sleeping due to the late finish of the docking activities.

NASA astronaut T.J. Creamer, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi docked with their new home at 5:48 p.m. EST Tuesday. The trio launched aboard the Soyuz TMA-17 spacecraft at 4:52 p.m. Sunday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

From inside the station, Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Maxim Suraev monitored the approach of the Russian spacecraft as it docked to the Earth-facing port of the Zarya module.

After completion of leak checks, the hatches between the two vehicles were opened at 7:30 p.m. Williams and Suraev, who arrived at the station Oct. 2 aboard the Soyuz TMA-16, welcomed the new Expedition 22 flight engineers aboard their orbital home for the next five months.

Creamer, 50, is making his first flight into space. Selected as an astronaut in 1998, Creamer was a support astronaut for the Expedition 3 crew and worked with hardware integration and robotics.

Kotov, 44, is making his second spaceflight, having previously served six months aboard the station as an Expedition 15 flight engineer in 2007. Kotov will be a flight engineer for Expedition 22 and assume the duties of Expedition 23 commander when Williams and Suraev depart in March 2010.

Noguchi is making his second spaceflight. He flew on the STS-114 return-to-flight mission of Discovery in 2005 and conducted three spacewalks totaling more than 20 hours.

› View imagery of Expedition 22 docking

› Read more about Expedition 22
› View crew timelines

› Read more about the station's butterfly experiment

2010 International Space Station Calendar

NASA is offering a 2010 calendar that describes the work being done on the International Space Station and gives information about the crews that have lived there. The calendar contains photographs taken from the space station and highlights historic NASA milestones and fun facts about the international construction project of unprecedented complexity that began in 1998. (Note: In order to print the document correctly, please select the two-sided print option in your printer dialog box)

Gaza's Christians: gaze to tunnels for scant holiday cheer

world wide daily news

GAZA CITY — This year Santa had to ditch his sleigh in Egypt and crawl through a smuggling tunnel to bring a little Christmas joy to the Gaza Strip.

"Some of these gifts came from Egypt through the tunnels because the crossings were closed," Emad Barakat, a Gaza City gift shop owner said, pointing to rows of chocolate Santas. "They've been selling well."

current world news

Israel and Egypt have imposed a strict blockade on Gaza since the Islamist Hamas movement seized power in June 2007, preventing all but vital goods from reaching the territory where the vast majority of people rely on foreign aid.

That has meant that many of the decorations lining the Catholic Church of the Holy Family and its adjacent school and kindergarten -- where most students are Muslim -- were brought through tunnels from Egypt.

Some 2,500 Christians, most of them Greek Orthodox, live in Gaza alongside 1.5 million Muslims.

They generally have good relations with Hamas but have been targeted in the past by smaller, more radical Islamist groups and have long been caught in the crossfire of the Middle East conflict.

On this Christmas Eve there was little cheer as the holiday came days before the first anniversary of a massive Israeli offensive on the Hamas-ruled territory.

Eyad Sayegh, a Christian pharmacist in Gaza City, went ahead and set up a tree with lights but expected a low-key holiday.

"The climate is not appropriate for celebrating Christmas because it coincides with the anniversary of the war," he said, referring to the invasion launched on December 27, 2008 that killed some 1,400 Palestinians.

Thirteen Israelis were killed during the onslaught, which was aimed at halting Palestinian rocket fire from the territory.

"We are going to limit it to religious rituals and prayers at the church and exchanging visits with family and friends," Sayegh said.

Sayegh had originally planned to go to Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank with his wife but she was not able to get a permit from the Israeli military because she is less than 35 years old.

Of the 750 Gaza Christians who applied for permits to attend the midnight mass in Bethlehem on the site of the manger where Jesus is believed to have been born, just 300 were given permission to leave.

And the Christmas spirit was further relegated into the background by intense speculation over a possible deal to exchange hundreds of Palestinian prisoners for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier held by Gaza militants since June 2006.

In past years Tareq Abu Dia's gift shop was stocked with Christmas kitsch, but now the shelves are lined with posters of famous prisoners.

"Regrettably we do not have anything this year for Christmas, no Santas or gift baskets," he says. "The political situation and the subject of the prisoners have overwhelmed it."

“U.S. plane” overshoots Jamaica runway, dozens hurt

current world news
KINGSTON (Reuters) - An American Airlines Boeing 737 carrying more than 150 passengers and crew overshot the runway while landing in torrential rain in Jamaica late on Tuesday, cracking open its fuselage and halting just short of the Caribbean sea, authorities and eyewitnesses said.

U.S.

the world news
Jamaican Information Minister Daryl Vaz said none of the 145 passengers and six crew on board Flight AA 331 was killed, but 90 people were taken to local hospitals, where they were treated for broken bones, cuts and bruises, as well as shock.
"The situation is pretty much under control, there have been no fatalities and the injured are being cared for," Vaz told reporters. "So far 90 persons have turned up at hospitals with broken bones, cuts and bruises," he added.

An American Airlines spokeswoman, Andrea Huguely, said at least three people were kept at the hospitals for observation and treatment. Others were treated and released.

"Upon impact, the aircraft hit an embankment when it overran the runway, so the landing gear and the engines detached from the aircraft, as they are designed to do. The left wing tip also broke away from the aircraft," she said.

"The fuselage is intact, but there are cracks in two areas," she added.

PASSENGER REMEMBERS "HUGE THUD"

The cracked, battered fuselage of the airliner, which plowed through an airport fence, across a perimeter road and up over a stone-lined embankment, ended up lying on grass-covered dunes a few meters (feet) short of the sea.

One passenger told a local radio station in Kingston that the flight was "bumpy along the way and the landing was terrible.

"The plane did not seem to be slowing down when it landed. There was a loud sound, then a huge thud and then we started to feel rain coming through the top," he said.
"The plane crashed and broke almost in front of me," another passenger, Naomi Palmer, told the Jamaica Observer.

The exact causes of the accident were being investigated but experts said weather could have been a factor. Heavy rain can reduce visibility and make a jetliner harder to stop.

"You will find a combination of things that caused the aircraft to touch down long or very fast," said Bill Voss, chief executive of the Flight Safety Foundation, a research and advocacy group.

world news today
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board sent a team of investigators to assist the authorities in Jamaica


Heavy rain and flooding occurred on the Caribbean island, a popular tourist destination, in the last few days. Authorities reported one local child drowned.
The Jamaica incident is the second runway mishap for American this month. On December 13, the wing of an American MD-82 struck the runway in Charlotte, North Carolina, while landing, causing damage to the plane. No one was hurt.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Three New Expedition 22 Crew Members Welcomed "Aboard Station"

ISS022-E-014333 : Soyuz TMA-17

The Soyuz TMA-17 spacecraft approaches the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

Expedition 22

Wearing festive holiday hats, the Expedition 22 crew speaks with officials from Russia, Japan and the United States. Credit: NASA TV

NASA astronaut T.J. Creamer, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi docked with their new home at 5:48 p.m. EST Tuesday. The trio launched aboard the Soyuz TMA-17 spacecraft at 4:52 p.m. Sunday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

From inside the station, Expedition 22 Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Maxim Suraev monitored the approach of the Russian spacecraft as it docked to the Earth-facing port of the Zarya module.

After completion of leak checks, the hatches between the two vehicles were opened at 7:30 p.m. Williams and Suraev, who arrived at the station Oct. 2 aboard the Soyuz TMA-16, welcomed the new Expedition 22 flight engineers aboard their orbital home for the next five months.

Creamer, 50, is making his first flight into space. Selected as an astronaut in 1998, Creamer was a support astronaut for the Expedition 3 crew and worked with hardware integration and robotics.

Kotov, 44, is making his second spaceflight, having previously served six months aboard the station as an Expedition 15 flight engineer in 2007. Kotov will be a flight engineer for Expedition 22 and assume the duties of Expedition 23 commander when Williams and Suraev depart in March 2010.

Noguchi is making his second spaceflight. He flew on the STS-114 return-to-flight mission of Discovery in 2005 and conducted three spacewalks totaling more than 20 hours.

Endeavour set for Holidays

Space shuttle Endeavour's hatch has been closed and purging systems are set up to blow warm air into the shuttle and critical systems during the holiday break. Standing inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Endeavour has been bolted onto its external tank and twin solid rocket boosters. The temperature inside the shuttle will be kept at about 70 degrees with about 50 percent humidity. Warm air is circulated around the main engines and orbital maneuvering system thrusters to protect them from the colder temperatures. They will come on when the forecast calls for temperatures of 45 degrees or lower for four hours.

Endeavour's next major milestone is scheduled for Jan. 6, 2010, when it is rolled out to Launch Pad 39A. Liftoff of the spacecraft on the STS-130 mission is targeted for Feb. 7 at 4:39 a.m. EST.

Endeavour crew training for STS-130 mission

Image above: Crew trainer Patrick Jones (right) briefs STS-130 crew members during a training session in the Space Vehicle Mock-up Facility at NASA's Johnson Space Center. Pictured from the left are Pilot Terry Virts Jr., Mission Specialists Nicholas Patrick and Robert Behnken, Commander George Zamka and Mission Specialists Stephen Robinson and Kathryn Hire. Photo credit: NASA/JSC
› High-res image

› Meet the STS-130 Crew

Endeavour's STS-130 Mission
Commander George Zamka will lead the STS-130 mission to the International Space Station aboard space shuttle Endeavour. Terry Virts will serve as the pilot. Mission specialists are Nicholas Patrick, Robert Behnken, Stephen Robinson and Kathryn Hire. Virts will be making his first trip to space.

Endeavour will deliver a third connecting module, the Tranquility node, to the station in addition to the seven-windowed Cupola module, which will be used as a control room for robotics. The mission will feature three spacewalks.

Liftoff from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida is targeted for February 7, 2010, at 4:39 a.m. EST

Monday, December 21, 2009

AcrimSat Celebrates 10 Years of Measuring “the Sun's Energy”

Artist's concept of AcrimSat

Artist's concept of AcrimSat. Image credit: NASA/JPL
› Larger image

Launched Dec. 20, 1999, the Active Cavity Radiometer Irradiance Monitor Satellite (AcrimSat) monitors the total amount of the sun's energy reaching Earth. It is this energy, called total solar irradiance, that creates the winds, heats the land and drives ocean currents. Some scientists theorize a significant fraction of Earth's warming may be solar in origin due to small increases in the sun's total energy output since the last century. By measuring incoming solar radiation, climatologists are using AcrimSat to improve their predictions of climate change and global warming over the next century.

For more information on AcrimSat, see: http://acrim.jpl.nasa.gov/.

Astronauts Test Glenn implements Harnesses

Imagine that you want to exercise on a treadmill. You step onto the machine and select your desired speed. As the belt starts moving, you start walking and eventually running. Your feet rhythmically hit the belt, and you get a nice workout.

In space, it isn't that simple.

Bob Thirsk exercises with the Glenn Harness aboard the International Space Station

Bob Thirsk (Canadian Space Agency) exercises with the Glenn Harness aboard the International Space Station during ISS Expedition 20/21. Image Credit: NASA
For astronauts living in space, like those who reside on the International Space Station, getting a good workout is equally -- and in some ways even more important -- than for earthbound people.

"Crew members exercise for a host of important reasons. There's a psychological benefit to exercise, and crew members work out to combat spaceflight deconditioning -- to help fend off the bone loss that they experience in microgravity and to help maintain muscle strength and cardiovascular endurance. All of these things are adversely affected by long-duration space flight," says Gail Perusek, Manager for Exercise Physiology and Countermeasures Project at NASA's Glenn Research Center.

Like your local gym, the space station has a variety of exercise equipment. The exercise complement includes a resistance device, a cycle ergometer and two treadmills.

The two different types of treadmills on the space station are the Treadmill with Vibration Isolation System (TVIS) and the newly-installed Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill (COLBERT), named after comedian Stephen Colbert. They're different in many ways, but both treadmills share the need for an exercise harness. Astronauts must use a harness to attach themselves to the treadmill while running in space due to the lack of gravity. The harness prevents them from floating off the machine, provides friction against the treadmill belt as they run and exerts an external load, or force, on their body to simulate the resistance of gravity that a terrestrial workout would naturally provide.

The current harness, which has been in use for several years, has some drawbacks. It isn't comfortable and has limited adjustability. Some crew members have reported chafing, as well as pain in their hips and shoulders from using the harness. As a result, the astronauts are not loading their bodies to the optimal amount needed to maintain muscle and bone health. The thinking is, the more load applied to an astronaut while running (ideally the equivalent of their full body weight on Earth) the better the workout; it increases the health benefits and decreases health risks.

"Bone loss occurs at a more rapid rate in space than it does on Earth," Perusek says. "In space, astronauts don't get nearly the same amount or quality of repetitive loading as we do here on earth, and bone mineral density loss occurs when the skeleton is unloaded."

The need for a new treadmill harness that is more comfortable and effective inspired the development of a new harness by NASA's Glenn Research Center. This effort, undertaken in collaboration with the Cleveland Clinic and funded by the Human Research Program at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, resulted in the creation of a new harness design called the Glenn Harness. The team also developed custom instrumentation to measure the loads on the harness during exercise. Two Glenn Harnesses are currently being tested by space station crew members on orbit, in a study called the Harness Station Development Test Objective, or Harness SDTO. Additional harnesses will soon be tested on the station by different crewmembers.

harness jacket for ISS

The Glenn Harness incorporates technology from the world of backpacking, with shoulder straps and a hip belt distributing load. Image Credit: NASA Four years ago, the team from the NASA Glenn, ZIN Technologies of Middleburg Heights, Ohio and the Cleveland Clinic began work on their re-imagined harness. They realized that the treadmill harness operates much like a backpack, with shoulder straps and a hip belt distributing load. The team travelled to Colorado to consult with backpack companies, such as Osprey and Kelty. Upon their return, the team designed and created prototypes of the new harnesses (initial prototypes were actually crafted from disassembled backpack components) and began testing.

"At Glenn, we have an Enhanced Zero-gravity Locomotion Simulator (eZLS) where we can simulate zero-g treadmill exercise with human subjects," Perusek says. "We tested the prototypes with our treadmill and determined that indeed the harness was more comfortable than the current harness in a side-by-side comparison on the eZLS, and was able to distribute loads more evenly."

The team also sought extensive input from former space station crew members regarding the new harness. The idea to use antimicrobial fabric (containing silver ions) for the harness, for example, came from an astronaut who commented on the amount of sweat the harness must endure without a lot of washing.

After all of the research, designing and testing, the team worked with Terrazign, Inc. of Portland Oregon, to create the finished flight harnesses. The flight harnesses were shipped to Johnson Space Center in the spring of 2009, and packaged with additional equipment from Johnson to capture the load data. The first harnesses were blasted into space in September 2009.

The crew members participating in the study will use and evaluate the new and existing harnesses, and will complete questionnaires after each session to provide qualitative comfort data. The team also designed special sensors, called buckle transducers, which will measure the amount of tension in the harness straps and external loading each astronaut uses during their workout.

Once the crewmembers have returned to earth, they will share their experiences with Perusek and her team during the crew debriefing process. If the feedback proves favorable, the hope is to incorporate the new harness as part of the standard crew exercise equipment.

The in-flight study is expected to continue through November 2010 on Expedition 24, and encompass the results from up to seven participating crewmembers.

"Working on a project that has the potential to positively affect crew members so directly is very rewarding. A lot of great effort has gone into this, and we're very hopeful that it will be of benefit for the crew," Perusek says. "As long as we have a manned presence in space, humans will be exercising in zero gravity or even partial gravity, like on the moon, and we'll need comfortable harnessing systems."

Expedition 22 Keeps Busy While Awaiting Additional Crew Members

Expedition 22 Commander Jeff Williams

Image above: Expedition 22 Commander Jeff Williams works in the U.S. Destiny laboratory aboard the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

High above the Earth, the International Space Station’s Expedition 22 crew kept busy with science and maintenance Monday as they awaited Tuesday’s scheduled arrival of additional crew members.

Commander Jeff Williams performed an inspection of an important piece of the crew’s exercise equipment, the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED). Used as part of a daily workout routine, ARED helps the station inhabitants preserve muscle strength during their extended time in microgravity.

Williams also recorded some video of the Advanced Plant EXperiments on Orbit - Cambium (APEX-Cambium) experiment. APEX-Cambium uses willow plants flown on the International Space Station to better understand the fundamental processes by which plants produce cellulose and lignin, the two main structural materials found in plant matter. Understanding the role of gravity in wood formation is expected to enable wiser management of forests for carbon sequestration as well as better utilization of trees for wood products. Later, he harvested some of the plant specimens that will be chemically preserved for post-flight analysis.

Flight Engineer Maxim Suraev worked on a replacement of the condensate separation and pumping unit, part of the water reclamation system in the Russian segment of the orbital outpost. He then spent the majority of his afternoon performing maintenance on the station’s smoke detectors.

Additionally, Suraev completed his periodic fitness evaluation using one of the station’s treadmills.

NASA astronaut T.J. Creamer, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi, all space station flight engineers, launched in their Soyuz TMA-17 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:52 p.m. EST Sunday to begin a two-day journey to the International Space Station.

› View video of Expedition 22 launch

NASA astronaut Williams and Russian cosmonaut Suraev are currently the sole residents on the station, having arrived Oct. 2 aboard their Soyuz TMA-16 spacecraft.

Creamer, Kotov and Noguchi will complete the Expedition 22 crew when they dock to the station Tuesday. Docking is scheduled for 5:54 p.m.

› View imagery of Expedition 22 crew preparing for launch

› Read more about Expedition 22
› View crew timelines

› Read more about the station's butterfly experiment

2010 International Space Station Calendar

NASA is offering a 2010 calendar that describes the work being done on the International Space Station and gives information about the crews that have lived there. The calendar contains photographs taken from the space station and highlights historic NASA milestones and fun facts about the international construction project of unprecedented complexity that began in 1998. (Note: In order to print the document correctly, please select the two-sided print option in your printer dialog box)

› Download calendar (8.6 Mb PDF)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

"NASA" Astronauts and Managers to Discuss the First of Five Remaining Shuttle Flights

HOUSTON -- Space shuttle Endeavour will deliver the final module of the U.S. portion of the International Space Station on the STS-130 mission, now targeted to launch Feb. 7. NASA will preview this mission during a series of news briefings Friday, Jan. 15, at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. NASA Television and the agency's Web site will broadcast the briefings live. Reporters may ask questions from participating NASA locations.

Endeavour's flight will begin the final year of space shuttle operations. Five shuttle missions are planned in 2010, with the final flight currently targeted for launch in September.

Endeavour's 13-day flight will include three spacewalks and the delivery of the Tranquility node, a connecting module that will increase the International Space Station's interior space. Tranquility will provide additional room for crew members and many of the space station's life support and environmental control systems. Attached to the node is a cupola, which is a robotic control station and has seven windows to provide a panoramic view of Earth, celestial objects and visiting spacecrafts. After the node and cupola are added, the space station will be about 90 percent complete.

George Zamka will command Endeavour. He will be joined by Pilot Terry Virts and Mission Specialists Kay Hire, Steve Robinson, Nicholas Patrick and Bob Behnken. Virts will be making his first trip to space.

The schedule of briefings (all times CST) is:
8 a.m. - Space Shuttle and Space Station Program Overview
9:30 a.m. - STS-130 Mission Overview
11 a.m. - NASA TV Video File
12 p.m. - STS-130 Spacewalk Overview
1 p.m. - STS-130 Crew News Conference

Also on Jan. 15, Endeavour's six astronauts will be available for interviews at Johnson. Reporters should contact Gayle Frere at 281-483-8645 by Jan. 7 to reserve an interview opportunity.

All reporters planning to attend the briefings in Houston must contact the Johnson newsroom at 281-483-5111 by 5 p.m. on Jan. 7 for credentials.

For NASA TV streaming video, schedules, and downlink information, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/ntv


For the latest information about the STS-130 mission and its crew, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle


For the latest information on the space station, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/station

New Releases Hollywood Movie: Avatar Movie Stills

Avatar Movie Stills
Avatar Movie Stills
Avatar Movie Stills
Avatar Movie Stills
Avatar Movie Stills

Avatar Movie Stills
New Releases Hollywood Movie
New Releases Hollywood Movie
New Releases Hollywood Movie
New Releases Hollywood Movie
New Releases Hollywood Movie
Avatar Movie Stills
Avatar Movie Stills
Avatar Movie Stills
Avatar Movie Stills
Avatar Movie Stills

Avatar Movie Stills
Avatar Movie Stills
Avatar Movie Stills
Avatar Movie Stills
Avatar Movie Stills

Colliding Auroras Produce an Explosion of Light

This three frame animation of THEMIS/ASI images shows auroras colliding on Feb. 29, 2008

This three frame animation of THEMIS/ASI images shows auroras colliding on Feb. 29, 2008.
Credit: Toshi Nishimura/UCLA

› Larger Image
› View Animation

A network of cameras deployed around the Arctic in support of NASA's THEMIS mission has made a startling discovery about the Northern Lights. Sometimes, vast curtains of aurora borealis collide, producing spectacular outbursts of light. Movies of the phenomenon were unveiled at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union today in San Francisco.

"Our jaws dropped when we saw the movies for the first time," said space scientist Larry Lyons of the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), a member of the team that made the discovery. "These outbursts are telling us something very fundamental about the nature of auroras."

The collisions occur on such a vast scale that isolated observers on Earth -- with limited fields of view -- had never noticed them before. It took a network of sensitive cameras spread across thousands of miles to get the big picture.

NASA and the Canadian Space Agency created such a network for THEMIS, short for "Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms." THEMIS consists of five identical probes launched in 2006 to solve a long-standing mystery: Why do auroras occasionally erupt in an explosion of light called a substorm?

Twenty all-sky imagers (ASIs) were deployed across the Alaskan and Canadian Arctic to photograph auroras from below while the spacecraft sampled charged particles and electromagnetic fields from above. Together, the on-ground cameras and spacecraft would see the action from both sides and be able to piece together cause and effect-or so researchers hoped. It seems to have worked.

The breakthrough came earlier this year when UCLA researcher Toshi Nishimura assembled continent-wide movies from the individual ASI cameras. "It can be a little tricky," Nishimura said. "Each camera has its own local weather and lighting conditions, and the auroras are different distances from each camera. I've got to account for these factors for six or more cameras simultaneously to make a coherent, large-scale movie."

The first movie he showed Lyons was a pair of auroras crashing together in Dec. 2007. "It was like nothing I had seen before," Lyons recalled. "Over the next several days, we surveyed more events. Our excitement mounted as we became convinced that the collisions were happening over and over."

Locations and field of view map of the twenty all-sky imagers used in support of the THEMIS mission.

Twenty all-sky imagers (ASIs) were deployed by researchers from the University of California Berkeley, the University of Calgary, and the University of Alaska in support of the THEMIS mission. This map shows their locations and field of view.

Credit: THEMIS/UC Berkeley.

› Larger Image

The explosions of light, they believe, are a sign of something dramatic happening in the space around Earth-specifically, in Earth's "plasma tail." Millions of kilometers long and pointed away from the sun, the plasma tail is made of charged particles captured mainly from the solar wind. Sometimes called the "plasma sheet," the tail is held together by Earth's magnetic field.

The same magnetic field that holds the tail together also connects it to Earth's polar regions. Because of this connection, watching the dance of Northern Lights can reveal much about what's happening in the plasma tail.

THEMIS project scientist Dave Sibeck of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. said, "By putting together data from ground-based cameras, ground-based radar, and the THEMIS spacecraft, we now have a nearly complete picture of what causes explosive auroral substorms."

Lyons and Nishimura have identified a common sequence of events. It begins with a broad curtain of slow-moving auroras and a smaller knot of fast-moving auroras, initially far apart. The slow curtain quietly hangs in place, almost immobile, when the speedy knot rushes in from the north. The auroras collide and an eruption of light ensues.

How does this sequence connect to events in the plasma tail? Lyons believes the fast-moving knot is associated with a stream of relatively lightweight plasma jetting through the tail. The stream gets started in the outer regions of the plasma tail and moves rapidly inward toward Earth. The fast knot of auroras moves in synch with this stream.

Artist rendering of the THEMIS satellite circling Earth

The five spacecraft of THEMIS were built to answer fundamental questions about auroras.Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab

› Larger Image

Meanwhile, the broad curtain of auroras is connected to the stationary inner boundary of the plasma tail and fueled by plasma instabilities there. When the lightweight stream reaches the inner boundary of the plasma tail, there is an eruption of plasma waves and instabilities. This collision of plasma is mirrored by a collision of auroras over the poles.

National Science Foundation-funded radars located in Poker Flat, Alaska, and Sondrestrom, Greenland, confirm this basic picture. They have detected echoes of material rushing through Earth's upper atmosphere just before the auroras collide and erupt. The five THEMIS spacecraft also agree. Last winter, they were able to fly through the plasma tail and confirm the existence of lightweight flows rushing toward Earth.

Quiet Sun Means Cooling of Earth's Upper Atmosphere

The TIMED (Thermosphere Ionosphere Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics) mission

Data from the TIMED (Thermosphere Ionosphere Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics) mission are being used to understand the climate of the upper atmosphere. Credit: NASA


Energy emitted by the upper atmosphere as Infrared (IR) Radiation in 2002 --  Nitric Oxide (NO) as an IR emitter Energy emitted by the upper atmosphere as Infrared (IR) Radiation in 2008 --  Nitric Oxide (NO) as an IR emitter Color scale for SABER data -- red (right) is hotter and black/purple (left) is cooler.

Energy emitted by the upper atmosphere as infrared (IR) radiation in 2002 (top) and 2008 (bottom) -- In this SABER plot, Nitric Oxide (NO) is the IR emitter. Researchers are building a climate record of the thermosphere using this data. Credit: NASA


Energy emitted by the upper atmosphere as Infrared (IR) Radiation in 2002 --  Carbon Dioxide (CO2) as an IR emitter Energy emitted by the upper atmosphere as Infrared (IR) Radiation in 2008 --  Carbon Dioxide (CO2) as an IR emitter Color scale for SABER data -- red (right) is hotter and black/purple (left) is cooler.

Energy emitted by the upper atmosphere as infrared (IR) radiation in 2002 (top) and 2008 (bottom) -- In this SABER plot, Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is the IR emitter. Researchers are building a climate record of the thermosphere using this data. Credit: NASA


New measurements from a NASA satellite show a dramatic cooling in the upper atmosphere that correlates with the declining phase of the current solar cycle. For the first time, researchers can show a timely link between the Sun and the climate of Earth’s thermosphere, the region above 100 km, an essential step in making accurate predictions of climate change in the high atmosphere.

Scientists from NASA's Langley Research Center and Hampton University in Hampton, Va., and the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., presented these results at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco from Dec. 14 to 18.

Earth's thermosphere and mesosphere have been the least explored regions of the atmosphere. The NASA Thermosphere-Ionosphere-Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics (TIMED) mission was developed to explore the Earth’s atmosphere above 60 km altitude and was launched in December 2001. One of four instruments on the TIMED mission, the Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry (SABER) instrument, was specifically designed to measure the energy budget of the mesosphere and lower thermosphere. The SABER dataset now covers eight years of data and has already provided some basic insight into the heat budget of the thermosphere on a variety of timescales.

The extent of current solar minimum conditions has created a unique situation for recent SABER datasets, explains Stan Solomon, acting director of the High Altitude Observatory, National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. The end of solar cycle 23 has offered an opportunity to study the radiative cooling in the thermosphere under exceptionally quiescent conditions.

"The Sun is in a very unusual period," said Marty Mlynczak, SABER associate principal investigator and senior research scientist at NASA Langley. "The Earth’s thermosphere is responding remarkably — up to an order of magnitude decrease in infrared emission/radiative cooling by some molecules."

The TIMED measurements show a decrease in the amount of ultraviolet radiation emitted by the Sun. In addition, the amount of infrared radiation emitted from the upper atmosphere by nitric oxide molecules has decreased by nearly a factor of 10 since early 2002. These observations imply that the upper atmosphere has cooled substantially since then. The research team expects the atmosphere to heat up again as solar activity starts to pick up in the next year.

While this warming has no implications for climate change in the troposphere, a fundamental prediction of climate change theory is that the upper atmosphere will cool in response to increasing carbon dioxide. As the atmosphere cools the density will decrease, which ultimately may impact satellite operations through decreased drag over time.

The SABER dataset is the first global, long-term, and continuous record of the Nitric oxide (NO) and Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the thermosphere.

"We suggest that the dataset of radiative cooling of the thermosphere by NO and CO2 constitutes a first climate data record for the thermosphere," says Mlynczak.

The TIMED data provide a climate record for validation of upper atmosphere climate models, which is an essential step in making accurate predictions of climate change in the high atmosphere. SABER provides the first long-term measurements of natural variability in key terms of the upper atmosphere climate.

"A fundamental prediction of climate change theory is that upper atmosphere will cool in response to greenhouse gases in the troposphere," says Mlynczak. "Scientists need to validate that theory. This climate record of the upper atmosphere is our first chance to have the other side of the equation."

James Russell III, SABER principal investigator and co-director of the Center for Atmospheric Sciences at Hampton University in Hampton, Va., agrees adding, "The atmosphere is a coupled system. If you pick up one end of the stick, you automatically pick up the other – they're intrinsically linked. To be as accurate as possible, scientists have to understand global change throughout the atmosphere."

As the TIMED mission continues, these data derived from SABER will become important in assessing long term atmospheric changes due to the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

TIMED is the first mission in the Solar Terrestrial Probes Program within the Heliophysics Division in NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

Khullam Khulla Pyaar Karenge Hum Dono “ Ranbir-Katrina”

Ranbir Kapoor

The latest buzz in Bollywood claims that Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif are more than friends but neither of them is admitting to their relationship. It all started during the shooting of ‘Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahini’. Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif came closer and their growing fondness can be measured from text messages, constant phone calls.

Among other news that has surfaced, it is being said that Katrina had also visited Ranbir’s residence and that Ranbir had gifted her heart-shaped pendant. Katrina has tried keeping it under wraps having told only a few close friends about it.

A source close to the couple said that Ranbir and Katrina are are finding it extremely difficult to keep their growing fondness for each other under wraps and it is just a matter of time before they make it public.

Katrina Kaif

Ranbir isn't even trying to conceal his new-found love for Kaif. She too has moved on from Salman, and they are now "just friends" now they've decided that they have grown out of the relationship.

Katrina had even visited Ranbir’s house and gelled with the family well. According to a source, she has worked with Ranbir’s dad in ‘Namastey London’, so there is a feeling of comfort. Ranbir is extremely close to his mom and doesn't do anything she won't approve. So getting her approval is extremely important for him.

Some say that Katrina is even looking for a house next to Ranbir’s. But another source close to the actress rubbishes talks of Ranbir getting close to her.

According to him, "Katrina has been keeping unwell for quite some time. All this buzz about Ranbir sending her flowers and text messages is untrue. In fact, they haven't even met up after the release of Ajab."

Adding that Kat hasn't visited the Kapoor house, the source says, "She hasn't been to his house, neither is she close to his family. In fact, the only person who, s been by her side in the illness is Salman's mom."

Talking about Ranbir giving her a pendant the source says, "The one pendant being assumed as Ranbir's gift is actually something picked from Hill Road, Bandra. Forget gifting her something, Ranbir hasn't even checked on her health ever since she fell sick."